Did the Internet Change the Holiday Industry?

  in  Accommodation Related
There has been an explosion in the UK in recent years of independent self catering holiday accommodation. The internet has transformed the way that we can book our holidays and also the types of accommodation that we could book. Traditional accommodation was often limited to caravan and camping holidays, bed and breakfasts and hotels. We can now book a huge range from glamping pods, luxury beachside holiday apartments and cottages from cosy rural retreats to huge mansions with every facility and service you could think of.

In the now pre-historic age before the advent of the internet, accommodation types was restricted. The reason for this was that to get your message across to the mass market, the medium for advertising was limited and relatively expensive. The traditional media types were TV and news papers, these were relatively expensive and made advertising a single unit such as a holiday cottage or apartment not cost effective, thus, accommodation had to be multiple units such as for large holiday parks. Probably the first change in the technological revolution was actually Teletext, owners could advertise single unit lets relatively quickly, although that was still expensive.

The advent of the internet has transformed the way we live, buy, relax and play and the holiday industry is one in which this transformation has been most significant. With the design and marketing of a web site for an individual unit now becoming cheaper, even within the grasps of those technically competent, virtually free, the internet has transformed the holiday industry. Owners of individual units could market their own properties on a plethora of sites and still can, cutting out the middle man and providing a mechanism to reach a vast and continuously growing population of internet users.

The boom in holiday cottage and property marketing was significant, huge numbers of properties in the UK are now marketed online through a number of channels from late availability channels such as Snaptrip or My Cottage Holidays Late Availability, to Airbnb and a massive number of agencies that have used economies of scale to generate power in the search market. Perhaps, most paradoxically is that in the recent years, the number of independent owners marketing their own properties has actually dropped with the big agencies becoming more dominant as their spending power on social media and paid advertising grows.

For a wide range of reasons, the capability of an independent owner of a holiday cottage, for example, to market their cottage effectively has reduced significantly in the last few years. The top positions in search results are now dominated by agencies, finding an independent cottage even in small villages is difficult as the financial benefits to the agencies for dominating search are substantial. The search engines now favour brands, squeezing out small but highly relevant sites and some might even say, because the brands spend more money with them. You might even surmise that the internet actually has achieved very little, big business always wins in the end!